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REF 2021 Staff Circumstances

The University's procedures for declaring individual circumstances for your Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 contributions.


The University of Bath recognises that there may be many reasons why individuals publish at different rates, and does not expect every member of eligible staff to contribute equally to the volume of outputs submitted in REF 2021.

In line with the REF Guidance, the University has established procedures to ensure that individuals are able to voluntarily declare their individual circumstances so that we can take account of these circumstances in preparing our submission.

As part of this process, we will be writing to every REF eligible member of staff in September 2019 to give them the opportunity to make a voluntary declaration. If you believe you should have been contacted about this but have not received an email please email:

Information about staff circumstances will be used by the University to:

a. Remove the requirement for the minimum of one output where an individual is entitled to this reduction

b. Recognise the effect that equality-related circumstances can have on an individual’s ability to research productively, and to adjust expectations in terms of expected workload / production of research outputs

c. Understand where the cumulative effect of individual circumstances has disproportionately affected a UOA’s list of potential outputs

The University will take into account the following equality-related circumstances that, in isolation or together, may significantly constrain the ability of submitted staff to produce outputs or to work productively throughout the assessment period. These circumstances have been identified by the funding bodies, with advice from the REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP):

a. Qualifying as an Early Career Researcher (ECR) (on the basis set out in ‘Guidance on submissions’ paragraphs 148 and 149 and Annex L) (see Appendix 7)

b. Absence from work due to secondments or career breaks outside the HE sector

c. Qualifying periods of family-related leave

d. Other circumstances that apply in UOAs 1–6, as defined in ‘Guidance on submissions’ paragraphs 162 to 163 (see Appendix 7)

e. Circumstances with an equivalent effect to absence, that require a judgement about the appropriate reduction in outputs, which are:

i. Disability: this is defined in the ‘Guidance on codes of practice’, Table 1 under ‘Disability’ (see Appendix 2).

ii. Ill health, injury, or mental health conditions.

iii. Constraints relating to pregnancy, maternity, paternity, adoption or childcare that fall outside of – or justify the reduction of further outputs in addition to – the allowances set out ‘Guidance on submissions’ in Annex L (see Appendix 7).

iv. Other caring responsibilities (such as caring for an elderly or disabled family member).

v. Gender reassignment.

vi. Other circumstances relating to the protected characteristics listed in the ‘Guidance on codes of practice’, Table 1 (see Appendix 2), or relating to activities protected by employment legislation.

Staff Circumstances Panel

To enable individuals to disclose circumstances with confidence of the appropriate degree of confidentiality, we will manage this process centrally, through the specially established Staff Circumstances Panel.

The Staff Circumstances Panel will consider recommendations regarding research independence, and Early Career Research status, from each of the Faculties/School’s Research Independence Panel. It will consider output reductions and will communicate its assessment to the relevant individuals and to the UOA lead. This Panel will liaise with HR and/or HoD, as appropriate, and upon request from individuals.

Full responsibilities of the panel are detailed in the Terms of Reference.

The members of this panel are:

If you have any queries about Staff Circumstances in REF 2021 contact:

Further information on REF from RIS.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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